Daniel Hemric will carry a familiar number for his rookie season in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in 2019, driving the No. 8 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. The 27-year-old will continue the long tradition of Kannapolis, North Carolina, natives who have driven the No. 8 on the racetrack.
Hemric made his MENCS debut during the 2018 season running the No. 8 Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff Chevrolet at Richmond Raceway in April and Charlotte Motor Speedway in September. Now, as he prepares for his first season in the MENCS, Hemric is ready to carry the number full time.
During the 1950s, Ralph Earnhardt began his family's racing legacy on the short tracks around North Carolina driving the No. 8. When his son, Dale Earnhardt, made his first NASCAR start at Charlotte Motor Speedway in 1975, it was with the No. 8 on the side of the car. When it came time for Dale Earnhardt, Jr. to begin his career in the NASCAR Cup Series, he did so driving a No. 8 Chevrolet that would become iconic to NASCAR fans and non-fans alike.
"Growing up in Kannapolis, it was all about racing," said Hemric. "I always dreamed of having the opportunity to drive for RCR and for Richard himself. Now, two iconic numbers, the 3 and the 8, are going to be under one roof. I know it makes Richard happier than anybody, just understanding what that means for the sport of NASCAR and how our fans are going to be able to connect with that."
With RCR celebrating its 50th anniversary during the 2019 season, Richard Childress, Chairman and CEO of RCR, understands the meaning of bringing the No. 8 back to the sport and teaming it with the No. 3 Chevrolet. Childress also noted this style of number is utilized across the board in numerous professional sports and felt it was time to bring it to NASCAR.
"Car numbers are a big part of NASCAR and it makes me proud to have two of the most historic numbers under the RCR banner for our 50th anniversary season," said Childress. "With his Kannapolis roots and his old-school racer mentality, Daniel Hemric is the perfect choice to bring the No. 8 back to the Cup Series on a full-time basis. He has demonstrated that he has what it takes to be a contender on the racetrack, and we are looking forward to the next step in his career. We have a lot of longstanding partners supporting this program and we're proud to carry each of their colors on the No. 8 Chevrolet throughout the year. I also want to welcome Cessna to the RCR family of partners."
Hemric and the No. 8 team will have support from multiple primary partners throughout the 2019 MENCS season, including Caterpillar, Bass Pro Shops, Liberty National Life Insurance and VF Workwear, all of whom return to Richard Childress Racing. Textron Aviation's Cessna brand also joins RCR and the No. 8 program for 2019, with select primary races during the season.
Hemric's MENCS rookie campaign will kick off with the 61st running of the Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 17, where he will drive a special gold-colored No. 8 Bass Pro Shops/Caterpillar Chevrolet to honor RCR's 50th anniversary season.
Entering its 11th year with RCR, Caterpillar will serve as the primary partner on Hemric's No. 8 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 for multiple races during his rookie season. The relationship between Caterpillar and RCR began with the 2009 season and has been growing stronger ever since.
The world's leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines and diesel-electric locomotives began as a sponsor in NASCAR in 1993. Caterpillar was a team sponsor in the NASCAR Xfinity Series from 1995 to 1996 before moving to the MENCS in 1997.
Bass Pro Shops will also return to RCR for the 2019 season as an anchor partner on the No. 8 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, along with a yearlong presence with the No. 3 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 and driver Austin Dillon. This will mark the first season Bass Pro Shops will work with Hemric, but this longstanding relationship with RCR dates back to 1998 when it first appeared on the No. 3 Chevrolet driven by Dale Earnhardt in the All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Bass Pro Shops, founded in 1972 by avid young angler Johnny Morris, provides unmatched offerings spanning destination retail, outdoor equipment manufacturing, world-class destinations and more.
Liberty National Life Insurance returns for its second season with RCR, which was announced in October 2018. Liberty National will also serve as a primary partner on Hemric's No. 8 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 for select events during the 2019 season.
A leading provider of life and supplemental health insurance for middle-income Americans through in-home and workplace sales, Liberty National is looking to build upon its successful LNL Racing marketing campaign by expanding its engagement opportunities with its independent sales Agents, independent agency owners, and policyholders throughout the United States.
Cessna joins RCR this season for the first time as a partner on the No. 8 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. RCR previously enjoyed a relationship with Textron Specialized Vehicles, a sister division to Textron Aviation, since 2011. VF Workwear's involvement with Hemric's No. 8 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 is the continuation of a partnership with RCR that dates to 2012.
"To have the support and backing from partners such as Caterpillar, Bass Pro Shops, Liberty National Life Insurance, Cessna and VF Workwear means the world to me," said Hemric. "Each one is a world-class organization that is dedicated to producing the best products and services with a commitment to excellence. Our goals at RCR are to do the same, and we hope to deliver strong results and represent each of them to our highest ability on this No. 8 team throughout the year."
During the 2019 season, Hemric's No. 8 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 team will be led by crew chief Luke Lambert. Entering his eighth season as a MENCS crew chief at RCR, Lambert has earned one win, 23 top-five and 70 top-10 finishes atop the pit box.